Although the rumor circulates every year, just like the “Internet sales tax” and the “post office to tax email” rumors always do, this time, the iPhone showing up on a carrier other than AT&T may have some truth to it. Verizon uses CDMA as its backbone for communications – their chipsets made by Qualcomm. AT&T does not use CDMA and Apple, up to now, has never ordered or had use for the chipset either (they use Infineon’s).
So if Apple were to begin purchasing large numbers of CDMA chipsets from Qualcomm, it would seem obvious that they are probably planning a non-AT&T venture. Given the exclusivity contract with AT&T that’s due to run out later this year, the rumors can really fly. TechCrunch has an inside line saying that Apple has indeed ordered several million CDMA chips from Qualcomm.
Further, they say that the orders are for an iPhone run to be out on the market sometime in December or January.
More dirt on this possible iPhone for Verizon launch in January comes from MacRumors, who points to various reports on the matter as well as AT&T’s apparent moves to downplay the negative impact a non-exclusive iPhone on their network might mean.
TechCrunch comments and Gizmodo both also point out that CDMA could also mean a Sprint release of the iPhone. So it could be both, either, or none. The rumors, however, sure are beginning to solidify with all of this semi-circumstantial evidence coming together to show a likely non-AT&T iPhone coming soon.